The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (H2020-MSCA-IF) is one of the EU's most attractive research funding schemes. It provides talented researchers an opportunity to work abroad or across sectors, achieve new competences and strengthen the networks. MSCA fellowships are also among the most competitive awards in Europe.
Carmen Romeralo Tapia is one of the receivers of the prestigious MSCA IF awards in 2019. Carmen holds a PhD in forest pathology from University of Valladolid, Spain. Her project "RESISTREE" - Identification of Phytophthora resistant beech trees by composition of endophyte communities, lesion formation and phenomics approaches" will be carried out at the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre in Alnarp (SLU).
"The key to success in these competitive calls is to not give up if you don't succeed the first time. I used the evaluation summary report to improve my proposal, asked for help from people with expertise in proposal writing, and I finally succeeded", says Carmen.
Her research will focus on fungal-like, oomycetes Phytophthora species, which are one of the most serious concerns in European forests and nurseries. "This is a great opportunity for me to focus on a highly timely topic and to improve my skills as a researcher", Carmen explains. "I will use a combination of several methods to study how beech trees combat Phytophthora infections. I am especially interested in understanding how the microbial communities in trees may contribute to the resistance of beech trees against Phytophthora pathogens".
"Introduced Phytophthora-pathogens are an increasing problem in our forests and green areas here in Southern Sweden", says Johanna Witzell who hosts Carmen at the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre. "We need to produce new knowledge in order to strengthen the biosecurity against these and other new pathogens", she continues.
RESISTREE project will run during 2020-2021. "We have been working systematically to increase the proportion of EU financing at our department", says Associate Professor Vilis Brukas, Head of Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre and the scientific coordinator of a large H2020 project ALTERFOR. "It is encouraging to notice that our investments start to give good results", concludes Vilis.